Are you part of the 9 to 15% of Americans who don’t go to the dentist because they’re embarrassed, anxious or afraid?
You might be experiencing dental anxiety, which is recognized by uneasiness or exaggerated fears about going to the dentist.
It’s also characterized by being embarrassed to go to the dentist because of the state of your mouth, how your teeth look, or being very close to a dentist during an appointment.
Dental anxiety may seem entrenched in your everyday life, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how you can help yourself have a healthy relationship with your teeth and with your dentist.
Bring Some Light Listening Material
If you experience anxiety before going to the dentist, try to use the hours before your appointment to lighten the mood. Here are a few things you can do:
Listen to a funny audiobook, podcast, or program on your way to the dentist and in the waiting room.
Listen to a meditation tape or another solution for calming anxiety before calling or visiting the dentist.
Practice breathing exercises prior to your appointment.
Don’t Arrive Early If You’re Embarrassed to Go to the Dentist
Sitting in the waiting room gives you time to overthink what’s about to happen. Instead of arriving 15 minutes early, show up only 5 minutes early to avoid sitting and worrying
Ask for Explanations
Part of the fear of going to the dentist often lies in the unexpected – you don’t know when the pain is coming, but you know it will happen.
Ask your dentist to explain what they’re doing as they’re doing it.
Have them explain:
- What you will feel and how long it will last
- What a procedure is and where it will take place
- Positive things they find in your mouth (evidence of good hygiene, etc.)
Take a Break
Sitting in the dentist’s chair is exhausting even if you’re not anxious. Don’t be afraid to ask the dentist to help you take a break.
Go over what is planned for the appointment and ask the dentist when the best time to take a break is. Then, when you’re relaxing, don’t just stare at the ceiling.
Get up and walk around. Watch a funny video on your phone. Sit in a normal chair and play a round of CandyCrush.
Do whatever helps you turn your mind off and relax.
Find a Dentist You Trust
If you’re embarrassed to go to the dentist, then you might be seeing the wrong dentist.
Don’t feel like you’re stuck with the dentist you’re currently seeing. It’s crucial to find a dentist you trust and who’s willing to go the extra mile to make you feel comfortable.
Ready to Try the Dentist Again?
Dental visits aren’t just important for oral hygiene. They’re also a critical part of your overall health.
These strategies should help you ease the pain of visiting your dentist by removing the things that scare people the most.
Are you ready to use these tips and try visiting the dentist again?